When is the best time to go from one child to two? There is no “best” time, there will be adjustments, and you will survive them.
Deciding to have another child felt like the most natural step for our family. Well, that was until I began to overthink it all. My two girls are 23 months apart, and the first six months were a combination of bliss and exhaustion topped with toddler tantrums that rivaled nothing we had ever seen.
Did We Make The Right Decision?
During those first few months, I questioned whether we made the right decision because while we loved both girls, maybe our timing was selfish, or we didn’t think through how it would affect our toddler. Despite all the questions, there was nothing that we could do to change our circumstances. It was time to work through what we thought would happen and what was happening. Things we told ourselves before welcoming our baby became a lie, and what we were living was the only truth that mattered anymore.
As I said, the first six months were a challenge, but I am here to tell you that it does change for the better. Yes, for the better! Here are the lies I told myself and the reality of what going from one child to two was all about for us:
Will We Love Them Both the Same?
Lie: You won’t love them the same.
Truth: You’ll love them the same but in completely different ways.
My greatest fear was that I would not have the same bond with any baby that came after my oldest. I was right. The bond I have with my oldest is unique – she made me a mom. She was with me during every step of the first chapter of my motherhood story. The bond that I have with my second is equally as unique – she has made me a confident mama who can manage these two precious lives with a clumsy grace that is new to me.
From One Child to Two: How Will You Juggle?
Lie: You’ll scar one for life when the other needs more attention.
Truth: You’ll learn how to reaffirm your love for each in their own ways
During the newborn phase, we had to implement quiet time for my toddler. For 15 minutes twice a day, my toddler would read or play in her room while I put my newborn down for naps, or I fed her while we were breastfeeding (that in itself only lasted a couple of weeks). It helped foster independence and ownership in how she wants to spend her time, and my baby has received one-on-one time that I thought was going to be impossible.
Nothing Will Ever Get Done
Lie: You’ll drown in to-do lists, and less will get done.
Truth: You’ll learn how to prioritize and find what really matters in your life.
The same number of hours are in the day when you go from one child to two, so what will change is how you approach what you need to complete and what you want to do. You’ll know when to say no when you used to say yes, and you’ll learn to structure your time to accomplish more in one nap time than ever before. Your list will grow, but your determination to make family time count will double just as much.
Why Can’t My Kids Just Get Along?
Lie: They will never get along or love one another.
Truth: You’ll cry the first time they share a toy or when one consoles the other – and it’ll happen on the day you need it most.
It will happen, I promise. It may be months down the road or years later when they finally embrace one another and the sibling bond that you’ve thrust them into, but it will happen. It’s taken nearly 30 years for me to love my siblings as much as I do now, and it took my girls eight months to finally be in the same room while I stepped away to the bathroom without worrying that one would upset the other too much. Game changer.
Growing a family, regardless if it’s through giving birth or through adoption, nothing will prepare you for the nights you stay awake, wondering if you made the right decision. What will happen is that your home will be filled with a new joy that fills your cup even on the worst days. Embrace the change. Remember to extend grace to those who are just as new to this as you are, mama.